Universal College of Learning

Universal College of Learning

2007 ranking: 61

Senior IS executive: Steve Sorsby, IT manager Reports to: Chief financial and information officer

Size of IS shop: 7

PCs: 1520

Mobile PCs: 80

Terminals: 0

Hand-held devices: 30

Total screens: 1630

Industry: Education services

PC environment: Windows XP, Apple, HP

Server environment: Windows 2003, Solaris, HP

DBMS: SQL, Oracle

Address: 18 Princess Street, Palmerston North


Key IS projects this year: SharePoint implementation; complete server


THE UNIVERSAL COLLEGE of Learning (UCOL) is a New Zealand

government funded Institute of Technology in the lower half of the

North Island. UCOL operates from three campuses in Palmerston

North, Wanganui and Masterton.

It has recently consolidated all of its Wanganui operations on to a new

purpose-built campus located on Taupo Quay. The campus was built

to provide a high standard of teaching accommodation for both staff and

students and to reduce operating costs.

Some of the immediate benefi ts of consolidation have been a reduction

in communication costs, improved desktop to student ratios and

a reduction in server and networking costs. Reduced support costs are

also anticipated due to the reliability of the new infrastructure.

This year will see further infrastructure upgrades on the Palmerston

North and Wairarapa campuses as the benefi ts of virtualisation

are realised.

IT director Steve Sorsby says the objective of the virtualisation

project is not simply to reduce server box count, but to gain

improved reliability through application isolation and increased resilience

through automated failover.

“Virtualisation has enabled modest sized IT shops such as UCOL to implement

failover strategies that two to three years ago would have been beyond their reach.”

Sorsby says major challenges for 2008 include management of

unstructured data and staff recruitment and retention.

UCOL is embarking on a large data management project using MS SharePoint

as the platform and various third party products and companies will be

engaged to provide front end access, work fl ow and training. UCOL IT

staff will also play a major role in the project.

“Ensuring that the IT team are involved in the implementation and training of

large scale projects is one way to maintain interest and retain staff,” says Sorsby.

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